LOS ANGELES – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) today highlighted two security checkpoint technologies that are currently being piloted at Los Angeles International Airport’s (LAX) Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT). These systems are designed to enhance security while easing the screening process for travelers.
One of the pilot projects being demonstrated uses facial recognition technology to automate the identification and boarding pass verification process. Travelers who are ticketed on an international flight can opt to use the biometric recognition system to verify their identity.
After a traveler scans their boarding pass and passport, a camera activates and takes a photo of the passenger. The system verifies that the name on the boarding pass and passport match. It also confirms that the passport photo and the photo taken by the camera match. If any of these items do not match, the passenger is not granted access to the security checkpoint. During the pilot program, all travelers will still have their boarding and identity documents manually verified by a TSA officer.
The second pilot project features an enhanced Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) unit with increased detection capabilities. The enhanced AIT, commonly referred to as a body scanner, does not require travelers to raise their hands over their head during the scan. In addition, it also provides corrective feedback to the TSA officer, alerting the officer if a passenger is improperly positioned in the unit. This capability may allow passengers to adjust their stance and be rescanned, which could reduce the need for a pat down.
“TSA’s strong partnership with LAWA has allowed the agency to pilot emerging technologies and evaluate their performance real-time in a busy security checkpoint environment,” said Steve Karoly, TSA’s acting assistant administrator for requirements and capabilities and analysis. “We look forward to continuing this relationship to identify ways to increase the security effectiveness and efficiency of the passenger experience.”
“Our selection as a TSA Innovation Task Force site gives LAWA the opportunity to see how these new products could help improve the guest experience at LAX,” said LAWA Chief Innovation and Commercial Strategy Officer Justin Erbacci. “We are excited about the way these technologies can help smooth the journey for passengers using LAX while enhancing security at the same time.”
Another technology that was tested and later installed at LAX is automated screening lanes (ASLs). ASLs have several features designed to improve the screening of travelers’ carry-on baggage by automating many of the functions previously conducted manually.
Travelers are able to move more swiftly through the checkpoint thanks to side-by-side divesting areas where several passengers can place their items in bins simultaneously. Automated conveyor belts move bins into the X-ray machine tunnel and return the bins to the front of the security checkpoint. The system features automatic diversion of any carry-on bag that may contain a prohibited item.
ASLs also feature bins that are 25 percent larger than a typical bin and are able to hold a roll-aboard bag. Unique Radio Frequency Identification tags are attached to each bin, allowing for additional accountability of a traveler’s carry-on property as they move throughout the security screening process. The airport recently completed installation of four additional ASLs at TBIT, bringing the total number to 10 in the terminal’s security checkpoint.
TSA continues to collaborate with vendors, airlines, airports, and across the counterterrorism community to roll out additional technologies. TSA’s long-term goal is to incorporate enhanced capabilities at checkpoint lanes throughout the country.